Monday, February 18, 2008

Letters From a Marriott Jail, or The Last I Will Ever Write of This

It's Saturday night, and I'm in the bathroom of a hotel room, marooned.

Wife has retreated to the hotel bar, a place where she assures me she will not drink so many gin and tonics that Baby will get plastered the next time he breast feeds.

For his part, Baby is sleeping in a port-a-crib with the profile and feel of a prison cell: confined space, metal bars, and his very own prison bitch.

That bitch would be me, relegated to the bathroom as the rest of our temporary home stews in darkness to allow my young son to sleep, a state of consciousness that, I might add, he shows no sign of attaining at 7:30 p.m., if his screaming at 232 decibels is a sign.

And tomorrow, sweet Sunday, when I will go back to our place and mop every uncarpeted square inch of our home, so that I don't inadvertently lick up the residue in a few days when I really lose it and drop to my hands and knees,barking like a cocker spaniel in heat.

Why, oh why do I subject myself to such indignities of the soul? Anybody who has glanced at this space in the last seven (!) months knows why: this afternoon, still suffering from a plague of bedbugs, Wife and I had the homestead sprayed with pesticides for the eighth time, a number that turned on its side becomes "infinity," which is beginning to seem like the amount of time it will take us to get rid of these beasties.

The exterminator (the third different one), a voluble fellow who unfortunately stank of a Union Carbide plant, was flummoxed he had to make a return visit from two weeks ago.

"I goddamn soaked the place the last time," he said, thus confirming my suspicion that bed bugs will survive a nuclear armageddon.

There is a positive to all of this, which, fuck it, there's nothing positive about all this except the fact I can appreciate what it feels like to be a refugee while still living in my own home. As a colleague of my college newspaper would say, "It sucks moosecock. It sucks total moosecock."

Dancin' fools

So I'm sitting in the bathroom, scribbling away on a hotel notepad with a hotel pen, like a jailed Eastern Bloc dissident writing on the back of his calves. Right now, as I am sitting on the (closed) toilet, my head leaning upon the sink, the only thought going through my mind is, "I wonder if drinking a combination of Bath & Body Works™ Aromatherapy Orange Ginger Energizing Voluminizing Conditioner plus Bath & Body Works™ Aromatherapy Orange Ginger Nourishing Body Lotion will finally put an end to this." As in, end to my life.

No, the thing one learns from bed bugs is rather Zen: you can't blame anyone, you can't do much about it. You just have to accept it.

Which is a good lesson as a writer, as the novel piles up more rejections than a high school nerd (i.e. me) does with asking out cheerleaders, there's nothing I can do about it.

Well, I guess I can blame society. Or my do-nothing, invisible agent. Or the stupid editors who didn't understand the utter brilliance of my work or the editors who did but said, "This is awesome! But ultimately not for me."

Society made me do it

Such is the hatin' right now that I'm going to have to write a novel about bed bugs to get this out of my system. In it, the protagonist surreptitiously begins production of DDT in his basement, At night, he breaks into homes, bags all the furniture, and sprays bug-infested areas with his illegal homemade pesticide, which kills all bed bugs in the universe.

I'll call it "Boners for Terminix."